Politics

Huelskamp Holds Up Floor Proceedings Because Of ‘Lack Of Transparency’

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who recently lost his primary, cited “a lack of transparency” as his reasoning for forcing roll call votes on uncontroversial legislation — effectively derailing Tuesday’s vote schedule.

Huelskamp said his threat to sidestep leadership by forcing a vote on the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen despite the House Freedom Caucus striking a deal to wait until after the election had nothing to do with his decision. By rejecting voice votes on what are normally noncontroversial bills, it adds hours to the process, which forced leadership to delay a significant number of the 35 votes placed on the schedule Friday until later in the week.

Fellow House Freedom Caucus member Rep. John Fleming told reporters he believes the move was likely due to a number of bills the congressman considered too controversial.

“My understanding is, I’m hearing complaints a number of those bills are substantive and not necessarily noncontroversial and there are a number of members who are upset, because I think a lot of the time people just knee jerk and vote yes on suspension bills,” he said.

The Kansas Republican said he hasn’t spoken to any members who think voting on suspension bills is good for transparency.

“This has been going on, this happens to be, we think, the biggest day in four years, I’m not sure what the numbers are, certainly the biggest day in the last two years to throw things on the suspension calendar. How did they get on there? Who knows, it’s not a transparent open process, it’s 7:09 p.m. on Friday, the majority leader’s office sent out an email. I asked some of the Democrats, ‘How’d your bill get on the calendar?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Why would people be opposed to having votes on it?”

Huelskamp argued a number of the bills shouldn’t have been considered under the suspension of the rules, alleging leadership added the bills Friday evening with the intention of increasing the odds of members overlooking what would be voted on.

“Throwing 49 suspensions on the calendar, hoping people won’t look at it, hoping the American people — they all deserve to see how they vote on it,” Huelskamp said. “Two years ago they did 30 in one week, this time last year, but that’s a question I would ask Kevin McCarthy’s office and the speaker’s office. How did they get on this calendar? Why are they on there?”

While Huelskamp says he has complained to leadership in the past, he didn’t discuss his plan to require roll call votes on the majority of the scheduled suspension bills — catching a number of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle off guard.

“I have not heard what his rational is, I don’t know,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’ll just vote the votes.”

“I’m not sure why he’s doing it,” Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan told reporters, noting congressional procedure used to require every bill to come up on an open rule, leading to members spending hours on votes.

With another 14 suspension bills scheduled to be voted Wednesday, Huelskamp, who has faulted leadership’s lack of effort to help him retain his seat as part of the reason he lost his primary, said he’s considering continuing his demand for roll call votes.

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